Tag Archives: fashion

“Check”ing out the Election Results

by Sally Applin

With Obama winning the election and entering the White House in January 2009, I think that fashion is going to pick up the pace and echo the cooperative and integrated sentiment of the times.

Look for black and white together to make a comeback. Checks, houndstooth, and/or black and white stripes will all be popular Blue may also feature in fashion–as thousands of democrats subconsciously wear their colors. 

Another influence will be Africa. Look for African color pallets, patterns and small details in clothing in the coming seasons. Maybe Fall 2009 or Spring 2010. If they can shift their focus before production, we might see it in Spring 2009.

I think the trend will continue in music. Look for Ska and mixed Reggae bands to make a Two-Tone comeback. 

Trend:  cooperation, unity, and merging of cultures, races and ideas. Look for it in black and white fashion, patterns, music and African themes woven into existing trends.

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

Vieuxveau Pauvre

by Sally Applin

To continue my post on the trend of “inconspicuous consumption” — in retrospect, I think that it’s counterpart is going to be quality. This means that thrifting will likely trump Target/Walmart and the bargain chains because if its made it to thrift, its got to have some quality in the construction that made it last.

When times are tough, and people have limited amounts of money, it seems that the idea of an investment in what one buys to last, becomes important. It isn’t just limited to consumer goods. There is a rise of concern about quality in food. Quality food may take longer to prepare, but what we put in our bodies will be better for us. Quality lasts and quality will help us last. 

The notion of quality as a trend layers over both “inconspicuous consumption” and of “get smaller” and neatly funnels into the eco-mantra “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”

Through my trend filter, these look like this:

Reduce: get smaller. Buy less, but better quality so it will last. We will see less spending. We will see more Micro Homes.

Reuse: if people can’t afford new quality, they will seek out “old quality” either by thrifting, or home swaps or garage sales. (Another trend taking off for clothing seems to be  working wear goods such as painter’s pants, field coats and other kinds of very durable, high quality, but lower cost, and lower status “inconspicuous consumption” items.)

Recycle: Quality food will lead to more composting, more home gardening, more tuning into the ecosystem. Quality clothing will lead to more sharing, swapping, thrifting as durable goods can last. 

Trend: What’s “new” is the “old” European mindset

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

Inconspicuous Consumption

by Sally Applin

Now that the financial crisis, which is impacting everyone in different ways, is global, I think there are some new trends coming up worth paying attention to.

Looking “rich” is no longer going to be fashionable in the areas where there is economic crisis. Gone are the logo bags, luxury watches and outrageously expensive fashions. What’s in will be what’s affordable, and what is low key. The fashion challenges will now be about how to make thrifting, WalMart, Target and their ilk–fashionable. Mostly, I’m putting my wager on thrifting. Not only is it cheap, it meets the new “green” criteria as well. 

People wearing conspicuous consumption clothing will be at risk for not fitting in, which will potentially make them a target of thieves.

I still stand by my prediction that we’re on our way to Great Depression clothing–monochromatic functional clothing in layers. We’re already part way there with maxi skirts and men still hanging onto retro facial hair.  Look for 1930’s music to make a comeback as well.

Trend: I’ve just listed them, but I think the main one is that obvious symbols of conspicuous consumption are going to retreat in the West as the economy slows down. To avoid being a target of the large percentage of the population who are being disenfranchised by this downturn, those who have it, will hide it.

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

“Classey-Lady” and Other Global Travels at the Mall

by Sally Applin

Last week, my friend and I went to check out the Giant Mall in Milpitas. We thought we’d take in the bargains and see what there was. The stores range from high end (Neiman Marcus Last Call and Saks Fifth Off) to low end–Steve & Barry’s, where everything was $8.98.

The first experience we had was at Steve & Barry’s. Steve & Barry’s has just filed for bankruptcy and the store really showed it. Many items weren’t where they were supposed to be. It was as if the store had suffered from some sort of wave that had pushed all the merchandise to a giant pile outside of the fitting room and swept the rest to the floor or the lower shelves. Most garments weren’t that well made, but there were a few things that were surprising. The womens’ jeans were cut superbly and had a great fit, the right amount of stretch and a nice dark wash. Everyone had figured this out who was under a size 14 because the smaller sizes were missing–except for those that had washed up by the dressing rooms, which is where I had found a pair in my size to try on.

I purchased a pair of extremely well made and durable Khaki shorts. The tag said that they were made in Kenya.  After flagging down a clerk to pay for the shorts, we left the shop.

As we traversed the mall, we noticed that there seemed to be a lot of those little carts that are in the middle of the walkways. The carts are rented out for a smaller sum than a retail floor space and have flourished in the past decade. They are a halfway point between brick & mortar and an online presence and are very common at malls these days.

We stopped at one cart because it featured a long plastic pad with fake rocks embedded in it, resembling a river bottom. (I could really diverge here and talk about that the environment is wrecked so badly that portable river bottoms are now being manufactured, but I’ll save that.) The New York Times had an article on these fake river bottoms recently and one of the things it had mentioned was that for older people, stone walking helped build balancing skills. I asked the woman who was minding the cart if she had read the article in the New York Times. She did not understand me. She nodded, but could not reply. My friend noticed that she sold cupping glasses, which are used for a type of massage therapy style treatment. My friend asked her how the cups work. The woman pointed to a sign in a foreign language with an English sentence that said something like “Cups for healthy lifesyle.”  I realized that it was no different from being overseas. The general language of commerce, minus the questions, is all that is necessary for a transaction. One doesn’t need to speak the language, if one can initiate and repeat the pattern. This cart reminded me of an online cart–for an online transaction. The system was the same, and just like online, there was no phone number to call or email address for questions. This fascinated me. Live, but virtual–all in one!

We continued to walk the perimeter of the mall. We came upon a shop called “Classey Lady” that had a large “50% OFF!!” sign displayed prominently in the doorway. My friend thought it was an ironic joke that the proprietors were in on. It wasn’t likely. It is more likely that as the cart was, the store was owned by someone without English skills, but who understood and had good connections with cheap manufacturing and could offer the clothes at a substantial discount.  Spelling didn’t matter–why not “Classey Lady,” indeed.

When I got home, I showed my husband, who has a background in supply-chain and manufacturing, that the shorts I’d purchased were from Kenya. He said something to the effect that it was interesting, and that he suspected it was still Asian/Indian manufacturing because they are so entrenched in the garment trade and that they have begun to purchase land and trade into Africa. He offered that it was purely a speculation on his part, but in a few hours, he’d mailed me an article that Steve & Barry’s clothing was made by Rising Sun (K) Epz. Ltd. 

I cannot source this company. Is “rising sun” a common term in Kenya? Is it part of the Indian garment manfacturing company called “Rising Sun Garments Pvt. Ltd.” or one of the nine or so Rising Suns sourced in China?

It just doesn’t seem that Kenya would develop this industry–one of the big garment manufacturers has not got to be “offshoring” to Kenya.

I have no evidence of this, but it makes sense. As countries that the US has “offshored” to, become prosperous–it becomes too expensive for them to do their own labor, so they are subcontracting to Kenya, to Thailand, to Korea, to Vietnam, etc…

Maybe this isn’t news.

Trend: The countries we offshore to must make so much money now that they have to offshore. What happens after Africa? Will people ever offshore back to us because we’ve become such a bargain?

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

Dust Bowl Chic

by Sally Applin

I like to speculate on what the next big fashion trends are going to be and I have to say this time I figure that we’re going to be revisiting the dust bowl. 1930’s depression era colors, styles, patterns. Minimal jewelry, longer hair (cheaper to maintain), natural fabrics. Worn looking shoes, maybe with different tones in the toe and back and perhaps laces and hooks will come back. 

The trend could come from the Great Depression–the obvious choice. However, with Global Warming, parts of the planet are going to be hotter, drier and dustier.

Trend: hot, dry, depression = retro clothing and styling of hot dry depressed times.

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.


by Sally Applin

Am I the only person who has noticed that the design on the back pocket of Victoria Beckham jeans is actually the Scientology star logo?

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.